Message Number: YG2065 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Brett Middleton
Date: 2001-04-02 18:17:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Early neutering

AFERRETVET@c... wrote:
> Interestingly all of the ferrets were prone to adrenal gland disease
> roughly 3.5 years after the surgery(regardless of what age they were
> when the surgery was done). This seems to point to long photoperiods
> and spay/neuter as the major parts of adrenal gland disease.

This information, in addition to the postings regarding retired
breeding ferrets that developed AD a few years after neutering, makes
it pretty clear to me that we need to be more careful about using the
adjective "early" when we discuss spay/neuter vs. AD. Most statements
regarding the relationship seem to include "early" as a matter of
course, leading us to focus on age as the issue, and leading many to
assume that late neutering is the solution. If we become fixated on
the age issue and a nice, juicy grant ever *does* come along, then we
may well end up spending it on the *least* productive approach to the

> As for "hormone therapy," Lupron and Melatonin both lower the LH/FSH
> levels and that is how they control the adrenal gland disease.

Indeed, but I was thinking more along the lines of prevention, rather
than control. Given that we are neither going to stop neutering our
ferrets nor adjust our sleep/activity patterns to theirs, then we only
have a couple of choices. One would be to try to selectively breed the
photoperiodicity out of the species. (This would probably be a really
bad idea, but the train wreck might be interesting. B-)

The other would be to develop a useful preventative treatment. Now
we're getting into the realm of a marketable product, so one might hope
to attract some research funding, given a favorable analysis of
marketing potential. And, with the right experimental design, the
testing could also look at the early/late issue as a byproduct.


*SLMW 1.0* Ferrets: A laboratory exercise in Chaos Theory.